The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will not have any spectators as the Covid-19 situation in Japan remains serious, according to organizers.
The announcement was made on Monday, following a remote meeting of four Paralympic and Japanese government groups responsible for the Games.
“In light of the current emergency declaration issued for Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba Prefectures, another declaration of the state of emergency being requested by Shizuoka prefecture and the current infection situation broadly, more stringent measures will be taken for competitions to be held in these prefectures, including having no spectators,” the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan announced in a joint press statement.
Members of the public have been urged to refrain from attending road events, but school programs will be allowed to continue with Covid-19 safety measures.
The news comes as Tokyo announced 2,962 new daily cases on Monday, after a record 5,773 on Friday.
The government is set to prolong the state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions – which is due to expire on 31 August – to September 12, according to NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster.
There was an absence of spectators for 97% of competitions during the Olympics – including in all Tokyo venues, with limited capacity in several other prefectures.
“We very much regret that this situation has impacted the Paralympic Games, following the Olympic Games, and we sincerely apologize to all ticket buyers who were looking forward to watching the Games at the venues. We hope that you understand that these measures are unavoidable and being implemented in order to prevent the spread of infection. Everyone is encouraged to watch the Games at home,” the statement added.
The statement also said that organizers will have a further four-party meeting “in the event of any major changes in the infection situation.”
The Paralympic Games are scheduled to begin on August 24 and run through to September 5.